AN OXFORD man with the 'gift of the gab' has been honoured in his hometown in Ireland for promoting Irish culture in Oxford.

The BBC's Irish Eye radio presenter Henry Wymbs was given a special civic reception paying tribute to his work in spreading the culture of Ireland in the UK.

The former Oxford policeman, who moved to the city as a 20-year-old in 1968, has presented the popular programme for more than 20 years.

He was joined in a ceremony by the Mayor of Sligo Marie Casserly and chairman of Sligo County Council Hubert Keaney last week as well as friends and family, including wife Sally.

The 69-year-old said: "I have always tried to promote Irish culture wherever I've gone – I had a newspaper column in the Irish Post for 20 years – and this does mean a lot.

"I came to Oxford from a village in county Sligo in 1968, so it's coming up to 50 years.

"I'm quite humble about it but it's nice to be recognised and to know the programme is enjoyed by people."

The father-of-two, who first broadcast the show in November 1996 after retiring from Thames Valley Police as a detective inspector, said he was most pleased to have introduced Irish music and culture to a new audience.

He said: "There is a big Irish community in Oxford, and they have always been loyal to the programme.

"But we probably have more listeners now from non-Irish communities which is fantastic and makes me very proud."

The Cathaoirleach - chairman - of Sligo County Council, councillor Hubert Keaney paid tribute to My Wymbs' radio show at the ceremony at County Hall in Sligo on Friday, April 7.

He said: "In his role as presenter of Irish Eye, Henry has a loyal and appreciative audience, and while they were primarily the Irish community in the UK, his unique style attracted listeners from all ethnic groups and backgrounds.

"When he embarked on his journey in broadcasting, Henry modestly labelled himself as 'a copper with little education, who was fortunate enough to be blessed with the gift of the gab.'

"There is no doubt he has enjoyed a fascinating life and career that has served to inspire his endless stories and memories."

Close friend singer Daniel O'Donnell also paid tribute and said Mr Wymbs 'is a man who has the ability to connect with people in a very special way.'

The ceremony promoted the radio presenter's new book A Wymbsical Journey – a tale of his life from growing up in Cloonkeen near Cliffoney to his 30-year career as a policeman in Oxford and his continuing success on the airwaves.

To order the book go to